Saturday, December 24, 2016

Patchwork jeans for The Little Madam

Just so you know that sometimes I am quite successful in my sewing projects,here's a pair of too-skinny Pumpkin Patch jeans that I bought off TradeMe for TLM.

  I inserted a long triangle of mixed denim patches down each leg and turned them into flares. 

Actually the pocket topstitching is quite fetching and I might try to copy that for a future garment for myself.

In case you're interested, I did manage to improve the fit of my jeans (in the previous post). After buying and reading the Closet Case Files guide on sewing jeans I tried taking in the inseam along each leg. It seems to have worked. I'll post up a photo some time.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2016

These are not the jeans I was looking to make

I decided to have a go at making my own jeans, since there are now quite a few sewing patterns for jeans.

The really popular ones are from Indie designers and they cost about $30. So, despite hearing great things about Morgan jeans from Closet Case files (and others), I went for a cheaper pattern to save money.

McCalls 6610 has had a number of positive reviews so that's the one I bought from PatternPostie.

I first made a test pair in stretch navy needlecord, because 1) I got the fabric cheap, and 2) since I don't much wear cord I wouldn't care much if it didn't work out.

Unfortunately it's really hard to see fitting issues on really dark material which hasn't got any contrast stitching on it. So I made a second test garment in stretch indigo denim which I also got cheap on sale.

As before, I cut a size 12 at the hips (going up to 14 or more at the waist and down to a 10 at the legs) even though my measurements would point to a 14 at the hips. But I possibly should have cut a 10 at the hips because the whole garment looks oversized in my opinion (you'll see when you get to the photos).

I did a bunch of fit adjustments, after following a page of fit instructions that came with the pattern. I also made the same adjustments that I'd made on my previous trouser makes e.g. scooping the back crotch seam to accommodate my low-hanging bum, going down a size on the legs and going up at least one size up the waist, adding to the front crotch seam to accommodate the inner thighs, removing from the back crotch seam because there's always too much fabric in the back, shortening the crotch depth at the front, adding to the crotch depth at the back (because the last pair didn't come up high enough), shortening the legs...

I even went as far as taking measurements from a shop-bought pair I like the fit of, and using these to help me decide on the adjustments for the pattern.

From here they look pretty good, eh? (I haven't hemmed them yet as I want to put them through at least another potentially shrinking wash first)

Below is a close-up of the front. You can see that my top-stitching is great except when it's located in an extremely visible place i.e. the fly. You might be able to discern that I've used two different colours for my topstitching thread - bright yellow and bronze.
And below is a closer-up, where you can see I didn't have much choice in jeans buttons. It was either the spares that came with previously bought Max jeans or these cheesy USA! buttons like the one you see below.
You'll also notice I didn't quite manage the sewing tension right - I had the thicker topstitching thread in the top and normal thread in the bobbin. I didn't want to muck around with the bobbin tension so limited myself to adjusting the top tension. It didn't really work, but the stitches seem strong enough.
That's the relatively good news. Don't look at the following images if you are offended by old-lady butt.
I'm not proud of this butt. I think I will have to do a flat-butt adjustment (it's a real thing) next time. Last time I tried that there wasn't enough room in the back, so I will have to do more research. The pockets are also way too big and maybe a little too low ( I should have listened to the blogosphere). Also, those damned wrinkles just above the knees. 
The front view is not quite as bad, in my opinion.
The legs are also way wider than I would like, even though I was going for a straight leg. It's probably not helped by the fact this is a super stretchy denim, so it stretches out a lot with wear (it's really best used for skinny jeans I think).


I'm pretty sure my shop-bought jeans fit way better than this, so I must be the only sewer who can't make her jeans fit as well as her ready to where.

I don't want to work with high stretch denim any more (the only reason I have any is because that's what was on sale). A little bit might make fitting easier, but lots of it makes fitting harder and also makes topstitching harder to do without causing it to stretch out of shape. If I do use this stuff again I will cut the pieces on a single layer of fabric rather than folded double which is the usual procedure. These legs got a bit twisted, which may or may not have caused some of the back leg wrinkles.

I have some really rigid denim but I'm aware that no stretch at all will make it hard to get the fit right too.

I think this pattern is probably no worse than any of the other jeans patterns by the mainstream pattern companies. I just need to find one that is close to ready to wear in cut.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Sewing successes (2)

Here are a couple of photos of one of my more successful trouser sews (mentioned in an earlier blog post.
Here's a closeup of the button, button fly and contrast waistband lining. The same fabric lines the pockets.
This is Simplicity 1430, made in very stretchy denim that I got from the Fabric Store on sale. I cut a size 12 at the hips (widening up towards the waist) and blending into a size 10 on the legs. I also shortened the legs, of course.

Normally I wouldn't wear them with cow-skin slippers, so just imagine I've got stylish slingbacks on my feet 
instead. No doubt the trousers would have looked better if I didn't have my hands in the pockets, but I wanted to show off that there were pockets... they are slant pockets.

I didn't interface the waistband and I may end up unpicking that bit of the waistband and adding some layer of stiffening to keep the button end of the band from folding over when I bend.

I'm pretty happy with the fit.

Next up, some tunics.
This is KwikSew 3161. Once I worked out that I needed to cut a smaller size at the shoulder (which was a revelation, as I'd always thought I was broad in the shoulder), I liked it so much I made second one. This one's in an organic cotton I bought at Spotlight, and the other one was made in a purple linen (not shown).

Then I wanted to make a long sleeved version of the top that came with Simplicity 1430. Rather than try to adjust the pattern to fit a sleeve, I decided to modify the KwikSew pattern to make it more like the Simplicity top. Below is a close-up of the neckline detail I was after.

The Simplicity top has a zip at the back but I didn't want to put a zip in mine, so I just re-cut the neckline to ensure I could get it over my head. This fabric is actually a cotton bedsheet that I bought from the Salvation Army Family Store for $5. I still have half of it left for another project. The only thing about this fabric is that it's a bit see-through so I have to wear something under it.